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Shaggy Dog Story / Anime & Manga

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  • Robotech is such a serial user of this trope to need its own dedicated page.
  • In Assassination Classroom, a mysterious person infects Class 3-E with a virus that will eventually lead to a slow and agonizing death. Instead of handing over the helpless, immobile Koro-sensei in exchange for the antidote, the teachers and students who have not yet succumbed to the virus spend an entire arc infiltrating a dangerous hotel full of bodyguards, assassins, and spoiled brats in order to steal it from the mastermind. The mastermind, who turns out to be a vengeful Takaoka, renders all of their efforts pointless by blowing up the antidote in front of the class. Subverted when it's revealed that Takaoka's assassins, who weren't nearly as sadistic and unprofessional as their boss, secretly swapped the lethal virus with a harmless stomach bug.
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  • In Pokémon, technically every time Ash loses a league. The only benefit he ever gets from those is amassing a large team of creatures ...that he rarely if ever uses in the next region, anyway.
  • The Komuvitan-D miniarc of D.Gray-Man: Vengeful spirit releases an instantly-transmittable rage virus (originally designed as a supplement to help people work longer hours), Zombie Apocalypse tropes abound, race against time to find the alpha infected and synthesize a cure from his blood ...long story short, the alpha is cured at the darkest hour-only to be promptly re-infected three panels later. The situation is fixed (in postscript text) by a side character who had reported to HQ and missed the whole thing, and the next arc begins as if nothing happened. The only thing anyone gets out of this arc is knowledge of just how much Chief Komui cares about his subordinates, even those who passed away years before...
    • And then there's the Fallen One arc, which is dark and cruel enough to veer into Shoot the Shaggy Dog territory.
  • In the "Valentine's Day Competition" arc of Maria Watches Over Us, a whole episode is dedicated to Mifuyu, a minor character who cheats to win a date with popular Sachiko. We get an in-deep explanation of her motivations, which reach back to her childhood when she already wanted to gain Sachiko's friendship, but failed. She is jealous of Sachiko's "petite soeur" Yumi, but then finds her rival is "more special" than herself after all and she decides to give up on the date. In the end she is shown to have cut her hair, cheerfully accepting that she is of minor importance to Sachiko — and is never mentioned again. The sheer pointlessness of this episode, together with the questionable message about "accepting your lower position in life", makes it come dangerously close to being Filler.
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  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, the characters spend almost the entire series working on a plot point that is ultimately resolved in Shaggy Dog fashion: the wish-granting Dream Collet is finally completed, only to be promptly stolen by The Dragon and given to the Big Bad, who uses it up by wishing to be beautiful, of all things.
  • Zigzagged in Ojamajo Doremi. The first series has the three main characters working for the entire series to become witches -and succeed- only to give up their powers to save Onpu. This becomes subverted when in first episode of the second series where they regain their powers anyway and lose them again trying to save Hana-chan. Then comes the Grand Finale and the girls (sans Hana-chan) decide not to become witches after all. Then the Light Novel comes around and the girls become apprentices yet again.
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  • Here's an analogy for MD Geist. Once upon a time, a man decided to climb a mountain. He fell down and saw a very shaggy dog. Turns out a rich couple lost a very shaggy dog and would give a reward for its return. A woman decided to tag along for the ride after hearing the man's story. When he got on the plane, he found that he couldn't take the dog without preparations, so he took it to the vet. He went to the couple's house, walked directly up to the door with the dog and the woman, and rang the bell. The owners of the dog were happy that they got their dog back, when all of a sudden the man pulled out a shotgun, killed the owners, and shot the dog in the head. The man then walked off into the sunset telling the very confused woman that the battle has only begun.
  • Early in Midori Days, Seiji thinks that Midori has returned to her own body for sure (somehow, she ended up popping out of his right sleeve; replacing his real hand. It's less Nightmare-riffic when you actually read it); it's even a two-parter and he talks about how he misses her. As it turns out, Midori was just taking a nap.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler dedicated a whole chapter to such stories.
    • One of these stories turns out to be a Brick Joke. Klaus's story about Lucky the dog comes up again when Hayate saves Izumi from Lucky (six/ten?) years prior.
  • Naruto's Three-Tails filler arc revolved around Konoha and Orochimaru's efforts to capture the three-tailed beast. In the end, the Leaf Ninja win, but then depart and leave the defense of Three-Tails to a bunch of Red Shirts, who are then killed when the Akatsuki show up to take Three-Tails for themselves. While this is a filler arc and it cannot go against what happened in the manga, knowing what happens in the manga makes the heroes' efforts seem futile.
    • A possible subversion, though, in that three-tails isn't really important to the arc. The real driving force behind the story is the filler character Yukimaru, who Orochimaru is trying to use to control Three-tails. Essentially, the writers shift the focus of the narrative from the Three-Tails, whose fate they have no control over, to Yukimaru. As a filler character, they can control Yukimaru entirely.
    • This also applies to the activities of the Konoha nin during the Hunt for Uchiha arc: they spend the whole time searching for Itachi, and while all kinds of plot happens behind their backs (including unwittingly running into Sasuke's group) they fail to make any leads in battling Akatsuki and by the end of the arc Itachi dies without them ever meeting him. The only purpose their involvement ultimately served was to demonstrate Tobi's abilities (which he uses to render all of their attacks useless and escape easily).
    • A case of it happening before the story began: the Kannabi Bridge detour was this for Team Minato. After Rin was kidnapped by Iwa ninja, Obito Uchiha put her rescue before successful completion of the mission, and Kakashi followed. They saved her, but Kakashi lost his eye and Obito was crushed under a boulder, so he donates his Sharingan eye to Kakashi before they need to leave him to die, and when their sensei joins up with them later they still complete the mission. What makes it this trope, is that every indication is given that Rin died sometime after this, making the heroism of her teammates utterly pointless with more loss than gain. And as it turns out, Obito seems to think so as well - he cites this as one reason why he performed a Face–Heel Turn in the first place, becoming Tobi and setting off the entire main plot into motion.
    • The Hunt for the Bikochu Filler Arc. Four episodes of build-up and a few cool fight scenes for Hinata, all over a beetle which can supposedly sniff out Sasuke. Then Naruto farts on the Bikochu, ruining its ability. Really? Shaggy Dog Story and Bottom of the Barrel Joke? Wow, Filler Writers. Wow.
  • The Impel Down and Marineford arcs in One Piece. Luffy breaks into Impel Down in order to save his brother Ace, only for Ace to be taken out for execution before Luffy can reach his cell, with Luffy becoming significantly worse for wear. Luffy then invades Marineford in order to rescue Ace before he can be executed, but Ace ends up being killed. What makes this especially heartbreaking is that Luffy had managed to free Ace, only for Ace to die during their escape when he foolishly turned back to fight Akainu and ultimately ended up Taking the Bullet to save Luffy from Akainu because Luffy's body crashed on him at the worst possible time. Luffy's actions in Impel Down and Marineford do gain him allies that allow him to escape from enemy territory alive, but afterwards he immediately gets a mental breakdown over the futility of his actions. Making this even worse is that Blackbeard turning in Ace for execution allowed him to succeed perfectly in his plans, with Luffy's break-in of Impel Down even helping him enter the prison more easily.
    • Also, the Marine Rookie filler arc. The protagonists fight some relentless Marines multiple times to get food, only to eat all of their stolen food within 10 minutes.
  • Cowboy Bebop has a couple episodes:
    • The episode "Speak Like A Child": After receiving a mysterious tape by airmail, Jet and Spike set out to find a way to play the darn thing so they can find out what's on it. In the end they end up going back to Earth and raiding an antique museum in the basement of a condemned building just for a video player and an old TV, only to discover they brought back a VHS player — and the tape is Betamax. To compound it, a Betamax player arrives from the same sender, by airmail, shortly afterward. Jet even lampshades it in the preview, stating that the story goes nowhere at all, makes no sense, and all the action is small-scale.
    • The episode Toys in the Attic: A weird jelly-like organism stalks everyone, ratcheting the suspense up as each crewmember falls deathly ill...until it finally goes for Edward, who simply eats it with no ill effects. Taken Up to Eleven by the ending promo tag, which has Edward solemnly declaring, "In the the end, they all died...", with Spike heard in the background yelling, "WE'RE NOT REALLY DEAD."
  • Monster can be seen as a subversion - Tenma's final decision to save Johan's life renders the entirety of his off-to-kill-the-monster plan moot and pointless in retrospect, but he could not have reached the same conclusion without undergoing the apparently wasted journey.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke realizes he can't win the fight with Sensui so he decides to allow himself to be killed so his teammates will be inspired and reach their full potential. However, his friends can't defeat Sensui and Yusuke is resurrected for round two.
  • In Katanagatari, the entire series is more or less this — ultimately, nobody really gets what they wanted, and nothing really changes because of their actions. Still, the journey was fun, and Shichika, one of the sole surviving named characters, got some Character Development out of the whole deal.
    • Well, it was a story about ending the story about the deviant swords. And that was accomplished, even if nothing else really mattered.
  • Bakemonogatari's Tsubasa Cat chapter is kinda like this. Koyomi asked most of his nakama to run around the city to find Shinobu so he can treat his classmate's cat spirit possession (a manifestation of Tsubasa's stress over the fact that Koyomi is getting into a relationship with Hitagi). In a true Bakemonogatari spirit, this is all played for Seinfeldian Conversation (and perhaps some World Building). In the end:
  • The Netorare doujinshi series Another World (which had a couple of spinoffs), where the heroine was under the impression that her Nice Guy boyfriend really wanted her to take it regularly in the "back door". As a form of training, she sought the "help" of a particular pervert who relishes in said practice due to a Freudian Excuse. The resulting turns of events are harrowing to read as she is slowly consumed by lust while being tortured by infidelity. At the end we see her boyfriend basically brushing off the whole thing as an insignificant curiosity.
  • Much of Planetes. Sure, in the end Hachi is happier and more mature (ditto Yuri, Ai) but most everything is about the same as in the beginning. The Debris Section is still chronically underfunded in its decrepit basement office, most of the cast are ditzy as ever (especially Lucy,) Edel's sleazy husband is back to abusing women, the SDF remains trouble judging by Hakim, and the SDF-Union treaty hasn't had significant impact on third world suffering. The final arc's climax serves as a double dip of this, since not only do all attempts to thwart the SDF threat come moments too late, saved only by the Union caving into their terms; Ai and Claire collapse from asphyxiation in the final tenth of Ai's miles long run for rescue, saved by a lucky passerby; and Hakim's If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him threats get ignored by Hachi, whose innocence is saved purely by a jam or empty magazine. No, on top of that, while the SDF ultimately get what they want, their boarding action on the Von Braun is repelled well enough to prevent them from accomplishing either of their goals (control of the bridge in case the engine came back online, or capturing Locksmith) in assaulting the Von Braun, while the Von Braun crew wasn't able to restore engine control, meaning that pretty much the only violent part of the operation and all the hundreds of deaths during it were utterly meaningless.
  • The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig episode NIGHT CRUISE has no significant relation to the overall storyline, follows a one-shot character for 90% of the episode, and features the Major and Batou in what could easily be cameo appearances. The episode is an homage to Taxi Driver. Motoko and Batou are secretly observing a former war vet who has become disillusioned with reality, making sure that his daydreams about resetting the world by being the hero who saves the day (even if it means a Heroic Sacrifice to kill a corrupt official) never comes to fruition. In the end, they realize that he probably would never actually go through with his dreams, noting that many refugees in the country probably resort to similar methods of escapism.
  • Episodes 200-201 of Gintama revolve around Gintoki and Umibouzu both trying to convince Kagura that they're the real Santa Claus. The situation is further complicated when Kyubei, Kondo and Sacchan also show up claiming to be Santa. To determine which one is the real deal, Kagura devises a contest involving a series of elaborate scenarios, including a parody of The Little Match Girl and a full-on High School A.U.. The contest ends without a winner after the five Santas collectively leave in frustration, only for Kagura to break the fourth wall and say "Happy Merry Last Episode!" seemingly indicating that the show has been cancelled. It wasn't, by the way.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Book of the Law Arc: Several factions attempt to capture or kill Orsola Aquinas after she seemingly figures out how to translate the Book of the Law, with the factions saying such knowledge cannot be allowed to spread. Later, the heroes find out her translation method only works for the first few, unimportant pages. They still have to save her after their enemies either won't listen to them or want to kill her out of spite.
    • Daihaseisai Arc: Lidvia Lorenzetti, a rogue member of the Roman Catholic Church, and her agent Oriana Thompson, attempt to brainwash Academy City. The spell can only be performed on a specific day and time and under specific conditions. Despite the heroes' efforts, they apparently succeed, only for Academy City's fireworks celebration to disrupt the conditions needed for the spell. The heroes then comment that even if they hadn't done anything, the end result would have been the same.
  • The entirety of Shaman King pretty much. Yoh and his friends fight and struggle through the tournament to stop Hao from getting the prize, becoming a god and wiping out humanity. But half-way through the tourney they realize there's no way they'll be powerful enough to beat him since he has centuries worth of experience and killing him will just allow him to resurrect some years later and start the process anew. Ultimately they let him take the prize but manage to convince him that humanity is worth keeping alive just so he can see his initial thoughts about them were wrong. None of the heroes accomplish what they wanted to do had they won the tourney but they're alive to keep seeking other solutions.
  • In the Hentai anime Onmyouji - Ayakashi no Megami there's a big fight between the good and bad guys, with many sacrifices for the good guys. Finally the main heroine succeeds with her plan to unite with the antagonist to stop her. Then the antagonist wins. No explanation given.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: One of the big, subjective questions both in the fandom and in the story itself is whether the plot is one of these.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Various cults and evil mages have spent great amounts of time and effort in schemes to resurrect the dark wizard Zeref. Then it turns out that Zeref was alive the whole time, was a good guy, and not pleased when he finds out that a bunch of cults have committed many evil acts in his name... Later subverted as their actions partially motivated Zeref to start a crusade against humanity, viewing it as stagnantly corrupt.
    • The Galuna Island arc also qualifies, as the frozen demon Deliora that Leon was trying to revive was already dead, and shattered into pieces from one blow after the Ice Shell was broken. Apparently cryogenics doesn't work in the Fairy Tail verse.
    • Hisui E. Fiore's second Eclipse Plan becomes one when it's revealed that Future Rogue was lying and used her to summon seven dragons so he could take over the world. However, the real "Shaggy Dog" Story isn't revealed until over a hundred chapters later, where an flashback to Zeref's past exposes him as the creator of the Eclipse Gate. This means Hisui's original plan (kill Zeref before he becomes immortal and an all-powerful wizard) was doomed from the very beginning, because it would've caused a Grandfather Paradox that left time stuck in an endless loop. In fact, this was the very reason Zeref himself abandoned using the Eclipse Gate to save his brother from dying and had to work out a different method of time travel for his Restart the World plot. She was never going to succeed, no matter which plan she used.
  • In Barefoot Gen, Kimie is no longer producing milk for baby Tomoko, due to starvation. So Gen and his new "brother" go out and try to find milk for Tomoko... and they do find it. The Americans who now occupy Japan are distributing cans of powdered milk, but it is not free (in fact, it's quite overpriced). Since Gen knows how important it is that Tomoko get some, he takes a job and days later finally earns enough to buy one can of the powdered milk. He returns victoriously from the market, only to find that Tomoko has starved to death.
  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito hears rumors of a rare item that can revive the dead, in hopes of bringing back a friend who died for him. Considering death in the game means your brain getting microwaved in the real world, the audience knows from the start this isn't going to end well. He finds the item, while his friends fight off a Thieves' Guild to buy him time, and finds out it does revive the dead ...if used within ten seconds.
    Kirito: (Tossing the item to Klein) Use it on the next person you see die.
  • More light-hearted than most examples, but the Rinne no Lagrange episode "Kamogawa Balloons" is (mostly) this. The Jersey Club is going to lose its clubroom because they aren't a sanctioned club, and they need a fourth member to become one. They find a new member, but she doesn't fit in. Madoka accidentally does a balloon-riding stunt, which she twists into an attempt to inspire the recruit to stay in the club. At the end, the new girl quits, the council seems to have lost interest in revoking their clubroom rights, and the original clubmembers decide the room isn't that important anyway.
  • In one issue of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jounouchi becomes a contestant on a game show called "Get The Million". Yami Yugi finds out that the host rigs the games so that no one can ever win the grand prize. Yami Yugi prevents the host from reaching his controls, allowing Jounouchi to win the final game. Unfortunately, the host gets arrested and all his assets are confiscated, including the grand prize. Jounouchi cries because the police refused to compensate him even though he won.
    • The tombkeeper clan has been carving hieroglyphics onto their backs for millennia to show to the pharaoh when he returns. Turns out the pharaoh doesn't remember how to read hieroglyphics. Oh, well.
  • Puella Magi Oriko Magica, after lots of struggle, Madoka is unexpectedly killed by the antagonist, Homura then resets time, making everything in the story pointless. The interquel manga "Wraith Arc" also ends with a time-reset of its entire story, jumping back to the last few scenes of the anime and erasing everyone's memories; even Homura doesn't remember what happened. The only change is that Kyubey gets his paws on a piece of Homura's smashed shield, which makes him believe Homura's story about witches and "Madokami," leading to the events of Rebellion.
  • In the Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions light novels, Yuuta spends most of the first novel going through a lot just to help Rikka review for her remedial exam in Mathematics, only for her to fail spectacularly at the end of the book. By the start of the second novel, Rikka still hasn't gotten any better, with her highest exam score a pathetic 30 out of 100.
  • The main story arc of Tamako Market revolves around Dela travelling the world to find a bride for Prince Mechya, and being sidetracked in Japan when meets Tamako and discovers mochi. Later in the story, Choi shows up to find out why they have heard from him and she finds that Tamako smells of the same flowers that Mechya does, a sign that she is the destined bride in the final episode it is revealed that the scent Choi found actually came from flowers at Karou's shop, meaning that Tamako was not the bride after all. Assuming of course, Mechya wasn't lying to avoid taking Tamako away from her life in Japan.
    • There's also the subplot about Midori's apparent deeper feelings for Tamako, which at one point even leads to a fight with Mochizou over Tamako's affections. It is never mentioned again afterward.
  • The entire mini-arc revolving around the Johnny Hunter in Eden of the East, where one of her kidnapped victims starts using a cell phone to post photos and messages on an internet singles board asking for help. After the Eden of the East team discover that the victim has the same bag as Ohsugi, who also isn't answering his phone, and that Ohsugi also frequents the singles board, they come to the conclusion that Ohsugi was the one was kidnapped. After two episodes of the group and Akira trying to track down his location, they finally discover that the victim is actually a serial rapist who stole Ohsugi's bag, and Ohsugi was somewhere else entirely (and the Johnny Hunter escapes with the victim anyway.) About the only thing to come of the situation is Akira meeting a fellow Selecao and learning that he has something to do with the Careless Monday attack.
  • Ranma ½. Ranma never cures his curse, and the driving Will They or Won't They? romance plot ends on "Eeeeeehh..."
  • Is This a Zombie?: This is Played for Laughs in episode 3. The girls challenge each other to several games, to see who wins the last cup of pudding. At the end of the episode, Eu just picks up and eats the pudding while Sera and Haruka are busy playing badminton.
  • The main question in Oreimo is whether Kirino and Kyousuke will finally acknowledge their feelings for each other and get together, despite them being siblings. Once they do, they agree to be a couple only for the three months between Christmas and their graduation, and return to being normal siblings from that day on. Even though this was a clear case of Executive Meddling (as stated by the author), many fans saw this as a slap in the face, since it made much of the drama that came before rather pointless.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
    • In Chapter 2 (animated in episode 1), Nozaki actually rented a four-wheeled tandem bike to ride with Sakura to test out potential romantic scenarios, as the traditional romantic scene of "two people riding on a bike" is against traffic laws, and the usual substitute of "two people walking the bike" was a bit overused. Miyamae, however, Executive Vetoed Nozaki's approach to the tandem bike (probably because it made Suzuki too much of a casanova), so Nozaki still went on with the "two people walking the bike" scene. invoked
    • In Chapter 8, Nozaki and Mikoshiba attempted to author a yaoi doujinshi after noticing a Relationship Writing Fumble in a Dating Sim they have been playing. In the chapter's omake, Nozaki told Sakura the attempt failed because, as a Shoujo Genre mangaka by trade, he would be "enforced" to end the doujinshi with Happily Married, but same-sex marriage isn't allowed in Japan...
  • The "Lime Cat" side-story in Denki-gai no Honya-san is all about Sommelier having a really bad day. It starts with pouring rain. On his way to work, he sees someone has left a very scraggly, old cat in a box for adoption. Sommelier leaves the cat his shirt and umbrella so it can stay warm. He gets chewed out by Director for showing up to Umanohone without a shirt on and gets a new shirt. On his way home, he stops at the pet store and spends a lot of money on a litter box, cat food and other pet supplies, but when he returns home, he finds that somebody else has already taken the cat. The somebody in question are two very nasty looking thugs on a motorcycle, so Sommelier chases after them, fearing they're going to abuse the cat. But when he finally catches up to them, they give the cat a bath and feed it, and even take pictures and play with it. It ends with Sommelier tearfully leaving them all the cat supplies he bought and dejectedly returning home.
  • The best the Survey Corps can hope for is a Pyrrhic Victory in Attack on Titan, otherwise their missions turn out like this. One mission of theirs (the 57th) collapsed in one day and failed to accomplish their goal, resulting in what remained of them limping back to the Walls to get ridiculed and verbally spat on.
    • Believe it or not, the antagonists face this just as often as the Survey Corps. The three titan Shifters responsible for most of the big events of the story (such as the breach of Walls Maria and Rose) are actually 3 traumatized teens who who just want to go home. But every time they get close to accomplishing their goals it gets snatched away from them (quite literally at times). The 57th expedition was a loss for them, too.
  • 'It could be argued that Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn highlights just how much the Universal Century as a whole is one, in sharp contrast to the nigh utopian hopes placed upon the new calendar at the beginning. And whatever hopeful resolution that comes out is fleeting at best.
  • In episode 68 of Dragon Ball Super, Goku decides to finally wish King Kai back to life and goes to gather the Dragon Balls to do so. However, everyone gets wind of this and attempt to shanghai the second wish. They end up using the first wish to heal baby Pan, but everyone dogpiles on the second wish. Bulma, wanting material to power a reversed engineered time-machine, ends up buying everyone out of their wish. However, her plans are thwarted when Whis and Beerus shows up and Beerus blows up the time machine and all the plans to it. By the time Goku can get to his wish, Shenron suffers a Potty Emergency and must bail, leaving all his hard work wasted and King Kai frustrated.
    • The entire Saiyan saga in Dragon Ball Z from Vegeta's perspective. Vegeta wants the Dragon Balls to wish for immortality, but when they face off against the Z Fighters, Vegeta's underling Nappa kills Piccolo, rendering the Dragon Balls useless and the entire trip completely pointless. What's even better is that Nappa kills Piccolo on Vegeta's orders as they wait for Goku, figuring that the Z Fighters would team up with Goku to attack them both all at once.
  • The very meta-fictional anime Re:CREATORS is a Shaggy Dog Story on top of The Bad Guy Wins. The Big Bad, a fictional character who suddenly appeared in the real world, summons some fictional characters and anounces she wants to destroy the world. Not only she is so over-powered that any conflict between those characters quickly becomes pointless, every one of them (and the real-world Japanese government too) ultimately only were just pawns in her plan to become even more broken. To the point that, to avoid the world's demise, they only can persuade her not to do so by giving her what she wants. Even the solution worked like this: after the authors spend half a season trying to make a believable scenario that would grant the cast the ability to take on Altair, the plan that ultimately ended up working (which was also on the fly) involved using Magane's reversal powers to make the audience believe it anyway. So every action the other characters did (up to and including sacrificing themselves) was ultimately meaningless, and to add insult to injury most of them had to get back to being fictional. It wouldn't have mattered if they died anyway, as they were only copies of fictional characters: all their character development never affected the original character they were copied from, meaning unless the Creators that met them added the development into the story, it never happened. Even if the world was saved, everyone thought the whole story was just a crossover anime, so it didn't really count.
  • The ending of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable fits into this category perfectly. The Morioh gang spends the entire second half of the arc searching for Yoshikage Kira, who manages to elude detection quite a few times, even going as far as killing the innocent bystander Kosaku Kawajiri and stealing his identity. However, once Kira is finally cornered and his deadly Stand, Killer Queen, is disabled, it looks like Josuke and friends will be able to get their revenge... until an ambulance rolls backwards, tearing off his face. Although Rohan notes that he likely would never have been prosecuted due to the silent nature of his crimes, Kira's sudden death shocks Hayato, whose father was killed and replaced by the serial killer, causing him to tearfully exclaim that he wanted someone to bring him to justice. Hayato's sorrow is further cemented by him deciding to wait for his father to (never) return before eating dinner alongside his mother, who has zero idea of the events that have just occurred.
    Koichi: The town of Morioh, in which I live, bears deep scars... No... To be precise, it was scarred by Yoshikage Kira, a monster born from the town itself. Hayato's mom will be waiting for her husband to return... Shigechi's family will be waiting forever for their son to return... The families of all the boys and girls Yoshikage Kira has killed will continue to wait forever for their return... And these scars will continue to hurt... How can this pain be cured? I do not know... Whether it will become fatal to this town, or whether it will fade away eventually, I do not know.
  • Lupin III has stories that sometimes ended like this. The gang bust their rumps trying to get a specific object only for it to either be destroyed, left behind, lost in gambling or completely worthless. Lupin may be a master thief but he can't predict every outcome.
    • The Italian Adventure even had a literal version of this trope in which Lupin manages to get hold of a dog of a wealthy owner and agrees to deliver it to her before her cruise ship leaves. While Fujiko keeps the woman distracted, Lupin, Goemon and Jigen end up having to contend with one problem after another while trying to make their way to the rendezvous, including putting up with Zenigata as usual. They just barely make it onto the ship by ramping their car onto the deck as it's leaving port. The dog is returned to the woman...and it quickly frees itself from her arms, turns it's nose up at her and jumps overboard. So all that effort and no reward to show for it, oh wells.
  • Children Who Chase Lost Voices falls somewhere between this and a Shoot the Shaggy Dog for Morisaki. Despite his efforts, not only does he only get Lisa back very briefly, he loses an eye in the process..
  • The first episode/chapter of Soul Eater is one of these. Soul is nearly finished with his quest to become a Death Scythe by devouring 99 evil souls and 1 witch's soul, with only the witch's soul remaining. After targeting the witch Blaire, Soul and Maka have tremendous difficulty defeating her, but eventually succeed, and when her soul is devoured, it's revealed that Blaire is not a witch, but a magically-empowered cat who can shapeshift into a human, and just likes to dress like a witch (and is still alive due to having 9 lives.) Because Soul ate the wrong kind of soul, his progress is reset back to zero.
  • In episode 13a of Tamagotchi, the Spacy Brothers find that everyone in Tamagotchi Town has seemingly disappeared and become worried they'll disappear like them too. Everyone else is still there; they were celebrating "Roll on the Floor Day", where they lie on the floor doing absolutely nothing, hence their sudden disappearance.


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